DIVERSITY FINALLY EMBEDDED IN BUSINESS?

Stand-alone Diversity initiatives have become difficult to justify in recent years. Instead, business was expected to own D&I, to lead the change process and to mainstream Diversity and Inclusiveness into their way of doing business. But what could Diversity practitioners offer to the business to assist the ‘embedding’ approach? Depending on their involvement, managers will need different help support: As council members, business heads rightly expect a ri
gorous analysis of the ‘as is’ situation along with scenarios, different options to pursue and pre-selected models or tools to implement.

Do you have all of this ready along with a robust storyline and business case? As leaders of their own business entity, managers expect a ready-to-implement business model for D&I, including analysis templates, KPIs, implementation and related measurement tools, along with various options to tailor all the above to their specific situation. Do you have this at hand? As individual managers wanting to implement D&I, they will ask for step-by-step support tools supporting them in addressing Diversity in team meetings or management, in performance appraisals and objective setting, project management, talent identification and promotion or other people management and leadership tasks. While each of these approaches not only seem possible, but also have been implemented or preparedby different companies, it is less obvious how we can ensure that the holistic nature of Diversity –which is at the same time a pre-requisite to realise the business benefits – shall be maintained. Although they may feel insular or even outdated, the specific, targeted stand-alone D&I initiatives still have their merits. In order to sustain credibility and ensure comprehensive inclusion, they need to be integrated into business-focused approaches. They can, however,
be lead in a more business-related manner as a few gender, multi-cultural and GLBT initiatives have shown in recent years. What everyone in the field has to accept, though, is that the game plan for D&I has changed. The expectations are more professionally pronounced than ever before. Hence, quick and easy solutions or blueprints won’t be accepted – and they often are not effective anyway. Nevertheless, expectations also include budget restrictions, which leads back to involving the business more, and more concretely – e.g. through staff that is partly dedicated to D&I. The good news here (for many of us): Our jobs continue to be multi-faceted and certainly not boring.